Lions to face Sharks rematch after Bulls postponement

By Sports Desk July 08, 2021

The British and Irish Lions will face the Sharks for the second time this week after the scheduled clash with the Bulls was postponed.

Warren Gatland's men were due to take on the Bulls in their third match of the trip on Saturday, but that match was called off due to coronavirus cases in the Pretoria-based franchise's squad.

Instead, the tourists will do battle with the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld, just three days after hammering them 54-7.

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said: "The choice of the Sharks was dictated by the fact that they have been in a bubble, have returned negative tests throughout and were prepared to take on the fixture.

"No other team in the country could meet those conditions right now – without going into a five-day lockdown. It is not an ideal situation, but COVID-19 has made sure that we do not live in an ideal world."

Lions managing director Ben Calveley said: "We’re very grateful to the Sharks for agreeing to play us again this Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.

"We have further COVID-19 testing scheduled for today [Thursday] and tomorrow. The results of those tests will determine whether we will be able fulfil this fixture, but, as it stands, we are optimistic.

"We remain committed to the tour in South Africa and determined to rise to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Lions head coach Gatland insisted he is not concerned about the viability of the tour despite a coronavirus outbreak hitting his squad just hours before their midweek drubbing of the Sharks.

South Africa were due to do battle with Georgia but COVID-19 cases in both camps put paid to that fixture just a fortnight before the first Test against the Lions.

The Springboks playing and management group returned 12 positive tests this week, with Georgia returning four. 

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